Mumbai is a city of dreamers and doers. It's India's financial powerhouse, and it pulses with life. There's a lot to see and discover in this metropolis, but if you're constrained by time and you only have a day, then skim through this article for the perfect 24 hours.
Gateway of India
Start early to catch the first boat from the Gateway of India to the Elephanta caves at 9 a.m. The former is a stone arch built in 1911 to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary, and the latter is a sneak peek into ancient history. Let the Gateway of India be your gateway to this city of lights, drama, and action. - © saiko3p/123RF
Delve into the past by visiting the centuries old Elephanta Caves. Built between the 5th and 8th century BC, the seven caves on Elephanta Island are carved from the hillside. They're filled with beautiful carvings and stunning structures, and are an extraordinary example of rock-cut architecture
in India. It will take an hour for you to reach the island by ferry, which means you will be back by at least noon, if not later. - ©saiko3p/123RF
After returning to the harbour by noon or 1 p.m., it's time for you to eat the best meal of your life in Mumbai. No exaggerations here, Indians love food and are very particular about what they eat. The nearest restaurant and my suggestion is the Masala Kraft in the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, which is right across from the Gateway of India. Masala Kraft is known for its contemporary twist on traditional Indian cuisine, and you're sure to be amazed by its sumptious delicacies. You can also eat at any of the other nearby restaurants such as Bombay Vintage, Lemon Leaf, Koyla and/or Indigo to taste the many spices of India. - © David Kadlec/123RF
After lunch, you have two options. You can either go on a shopping spree in the fashionable Colaba Shopping Street, or at 2:30 p.m. see the famous dabbawallahs packing lunch boxes at Chhatrapati Shivaji, a.k.a. Victoria Terminus. The 5,000 dabbawalahs have been diligently delivering home-cooked meals picked up from the houses of the 200,000 office workers every day since 1890. They make only one mistake in every 6 million deliveries, using an astonishingly precise system of colour-coded boxes. - ©Aliaksandr Mazurkevich/123RF
Haji Ali Darga
By 3 p.m. start heading towards the south of Worli to visit the beautiful Haji Ali Dargah built in 1431. The high tide days are special as the walkway to the Dargah gets submerged, and you can see the white marble shrine floating in the middle of the sea. Don't forget to grab a
banta (lemon soda with Indian spices) or fresh juice from the Haji Ali Juice Centre nearby. This will act as a cooling agent in the scorching heat of Mumbai. - ©svglass/123RF
Bandra-Worli Sea Link
Around 4 or 5 p.m., whichever suits your pace, you can take a cab to the Bandstand Promenade at Bandra. It's a 30 minute ride from the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. This sea link is officially known as Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link. It's an engineering marvel made up of 90,000 tons of cement and steel wire comparable to the girth of the earth. After reaching the banstand, you can either walk by the seaside to the Bandra Fort and see the dazzling skyline of South Mumbai and the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. Or you can make your way to Mannat, Shahrukh Khan's residence, if you happen to be a bollywood fan like me. - ©rajshri gupta/123RF
By the time you've visited the caves, Haji Ali, and the Bandra fort, it's almost 6 p.m. and you still haven't had the famous
vada pav. If your stomach is churning and it's time for an evening snack, stop at any of the vada pav stalls that line the streets. It's a bun with spicy toppings, filled with a potato cutlet, and is an absolute must when in Mumbai. - ©KAILASH KUMAR/123RF
Antiques of India
If you're free by 6 p.m., you can choose to visit the chor bazaar or the beautiful and serene marine drive. It will take an hour or more from Bandra to any of the above places. The chor bazaar (thief market) closes by 7:30 p.m. so this might not be the perfect option. However, if you're into shopping for cheap, regal stuff, this is the place to be. Don't shy away from bargaining even though prices are pretty reasonable. Shops like Oriental Arts and Crafts for antiques and A 1 Corner for Bollywood collections are pretty famous. However, don't be mislead by its name. It's the largest flea market in India, selling second-hand goods and not stolen ones. In fact, its original name is said to be the Shor bazaar (noisy market), which turned into Chor bazaar due to the British mispronunciation. - ©Karsten Neglia/123RF
The Queen's Necklace
Your second choice is to have an early dinner and head towards Marine Drive also called the Queen's Necklace. The sparkling panoramic view of the city from Marine Drive is sure to bring a sense of calmness and peace that you might have been looking for during your busy 24 hour Mumbai excursion. - ©tktktk/123RF
Sitting near the sea or hopping on Victoria, the silver horse-drawn carriage, will be the perfect ending to your bustling and fast paced, Mumbai experience. - ©saiko3p/123RF
The city that never sleeps dances to its own rhythm, and has its own unique Bambaiya language (Mumbai's version of Hindi). Even if you leave the city, Mumbai will always stay with you.
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